Happenings on the Hill

A December to Remember

SMU marked the Christmas season with multiple events in early December.

Students and faculty filled the main quad on Dec. 2 for a celebration of lights sponsored by the Student Foundation and supported by the Student Senate and the Michael F. Miller Endowment.

SMU President R. Gerald Turner read the Christmas story and participants enjoyed hot chocolate, cookies, and carols at the lighting of the campus Christmas tree.

Three days later, another celebration marked three milestones: the 60th anniversary of Perkins’ Master of Sacred Music program, the 80th anniversary of the Seminary Singers, and the 60th anniversary of the Advent service itself.

“This legacy revolves around the idea of a community gathered to ‘await together’ the coming of the one who is Emmanuel,” said Marcell Silva Steuernagel, assistant professor of church music and director of the sacred music program at Perkins. “As we wait, we sing our expectation together.”

The Advent service was instituted in 1959 by professors Grady Hardin and Lloyd Pfautsch and is closely tied to the development of Perkins’ Master of Sacred Music Program. A forerunner to this tradition was established in 1948 when Perkins professor Fred Gealy led the Seminary Singers, a non-auditioned ensemble of theology and sacred music students, and the Perkins community in a program of Christmas music during the last chapel service of the fall semester.

Difference-Making Scientist
Fossils found by paleontologist Myria Perez are on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. (Courtesy Photo)

SMU paleontology graduate Myria Perez was one of 125 women across the country selected to be an AAAS IF/THEN ambassador.

As an IF/THEN ambassador, the goal is to tell their stories and serve as a role model for girls to encourage women involved in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Read more about the program on Page B10.

“We firmly believe that if we support a woman in STEM, then she can change the world,” said Lyda Hill, founder of Lyda Hill Philanthropies.

Perez, now a fossil preparator at the Perot Museum, worked with paleontologist Louis Jacobs and others to unearth never-before-seen fossils from Angola. View them at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

SMU Cox Dallas 100

Preston Hollow resident and SMU graduate Trey Rome, founder and CEO of Home Tax Solutions (HTS), accepted an award from the Cox School’s Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship as one of SMU’s Dallas 100.

The 29th-annual awards honored the ingenuity, commitment, and perseverance of the fastest-growing, privately-held entrepreneurial businesses in the Dallas area.

HTS was started at Rome’s kitchen table seven years ago. He now oversees five offices throughout Texas.

“We are a company founded on the philosophy of caring about all the people with whom we work, a value I learned from one of my professors while at SMU,” Rome said.

Arts Center Renovation
Trey Rome

A $34 million renovation of the Owen Arts Center will improve academic spaces in the north wing for visual arts, art history, and creative computation.

With three interconnected buildings, the 25,000-square-foot Owens Center is the largest academic building on the SMU campus.

With a $1.8 million-dollar gift, former SMU parent G. Marlyne Sexton hopes to encourage others to contribute to help raise the remaining amount needed to revitalize the art hub.

“The improvements will serve as a catalyst for Meadows (School of Arts) to attract the next generation of talented and diverse visual artists, art historians, and multidisciplinary creatives and draw scholars and visitors from across the region and around the world,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said. Visit smu.edu/TransformOwenArts.

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